European Commission Proposes a Revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (3 of 4)
As another key component of the Fit for 55 package, the Commission made a proposal to amend Directive 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RED II) and related legal acts.
The revision would increase the overall binding target for renewable energy in the EU energy mix from the current 32% to 40%, complemented by indicative national contributions of Member States to reach the collective EU target. The Commission proposes specific targets for renewable energy use in certain sectors by 2030:
transport (GHG intensity reduction of at least 13%; share of advanced biofuels and biogas increasing to 2.2%; and share of renewable fuels of non-biological origin of at least 2.6%),
heating and cooling (average minimum annual increase of 1.1 percentage points),
buildings (49%) and industry (indicative average minimum annual increase of 1.1 percentage points).
According to the European Commission, without the revision, an increase of the share of renewable energy consumption in the industry sector is not to be expected. Hence, with a view to mainstreaming renewable energy in industry, the proposal explains that benchmarks should be put in place to incentivize industry to switch to a renewables-based production process that not only are fuelled by renewable energy, but also use renewable-based raw materials such as renewable hydrogen. It foresees binding target of 50% renewable fuels of non-biological origin in the hydrogen used for final energy and non-energy purposes in industry by 2030. It also introduces a requirement that industrial products that are labelled or claimed to be produced with renewable energy and renewable fuels of non-biological origin must indicate the percentage of renewable energy used or renewable fuels of non-biological origin used in the raw material acquisition and pre-processing, manufacturing and distribution stage, based on established standards. The proposal explains that this would avoid deceptive practices and increase consumers trust. Furthermore, given consumer preference for products that contribute to environmental and climate change objectives, it would stimulate a market demand for those products.
The proposal introduces the obligation to phase out, with some exceptions, support for the use of forest biomass in electricity-only installations from 2026. To meet both climate and environmental goals, sustainability criteria for the use of bioenergy would be strengthened and Member States would have to design any support schemes for bioenergy in a way that respects the cascading principle of uses for woody biomass. Under an updated calculation method, energy from renewable fuels of non-biological origin would have to be accounted in the sector in which it is consumed (electricity, heating and cooling, or transport). Renewable electricity used to produce renewable fuels of non-biological origin would not be included in the calculation of the gross final consumption of electricity from renewable sources.
Member States would also be barred from supporting the production of energy from waste incineration if they have not complied with the separate collection obligations laid down in the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98. By contrast, looking at waste heat and cold energy, the proposal explains that they are underused despite their wide availability, leading to a waste of resources, lower energy efficiency and higher than necessary energy consumption. Requirements for closer coordination between district heating and cooling operators, industrial and tertiary sectors, and local authorities could facilitate the dialogue and cooperation necessary to harness cost-effective waste heat and cold potentials via district heating and cooling systems.
Francesca Zuccarello Cimino also contributed to this article.